The Princeton Guide to Ecology

By Simon A. Levin | Go to book overview

IV.9
Seascape Microbial Ecology:
Habitat Structure, Biodiversity,
and Ecosystem Function
David M. Karl and Ricardo M. Letelier
OUTLINE
1. Introduction
2. Seascape structure, variability, and function
3. Assessments of microbial “species” diversity and function
4. The ocean genome
5. Ecotype variability and resource competition
6. The streamlined genome of SAR 11
7. Station ALOHA: A microbial observatory in the open sea
8. Conclusion

Seascapes are marine analogs of landscapes in the terrestrial biosphere, namely the physical, chemical, and biological elements that collectively define a particular marine habitat. The field of seascape ecology, also referred to as ecological geography of the sea, seeks fundamental understanding of spatial and temporal variability in habitat structure and its relationships to ecosystem function, including solar energy capture and dissipation, trophic interactions and their effects on nutrient dynamics, and patterns and controls of biodiversity. Implicit in the study of seascape ecology is an interest in the management of global resources through the development of new theory, the establishment of long-term ecological observation programs, and the dissemination of knowledge to society at large.


GLOSSARY

euphotic zone. Upper portion of the ocean where there is sufficient light to support net photosynthesis, usually the upper 0–200 m in the clearest ocean water

genome. The complete assembly of genes present in a given organism, coded by specific nucleotide se quences of DNA, that determines its taxonomic structure, metabolic characteristics, behavior, and ecological function

microorganism. The smallest form of life (<2 mm) on our planet and the most abundant in the open sea, sometimes reaching cell densities of 1 million cells per cubic centimeter

nitrogen fixation. The process whereby relatively inert gaseous nitrogen (N2) is reduced to ammonia (NH3) and thus converted into a biologically available form

nutrient. One of several organic or inorganic raw materials that are required for the growth of an organism, for example, nitrogen, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins

oligotrophic. A condition of low nutrient concentration and low standing stock of living organisms, for example, the open ocean

primary production. Metabolic process during which carbon dioxide is incorporated into organic matter by bacteria and eukaryotic algae using any of a variety of energy sources, but usually solar energy

remote sensing. The indirect measurement of habitat characteristics, for example by Earth-orbiting satellites

water mass. A portion of the marine environment that has a characteristic average value of temperature and salinity that is related to its origin and global circulation pattern


1. INTRODUCTION

The global ocean covers 71% of the surface of the Earth to a mean depth of approximately 4 km. In contrast to its terrestrial counterpart, where biomes are associated with characteristic landscapes, differences

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